Thanks for hopping over from Quite Frankly She Said and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 4:- Working and Breastfeeding. Sponsors today include Feed Me Mummy with a black and white vest combo, Thrupenny Bits who are offering a cute cord in blue breastfeeding cushion and Kids Bee Happy who are offering your choice of sand art picture for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Working did impact my breastfeeding journey. But not in the way you might think. I actually think that I breastfed my daughter too much because I worked from home.
One of the main reasons I set up Milk & Mummy, aside from loving the retail environment and seeing a huge gap in the market for breastfeeding clothes, was because I wanted a working life that fitted around my family. I know that I am extremely lucky. Not everyone has the luxury of that choice. Milk & Mummy meant that I could work from home and see my little girl growing up. I fed her on demand and weaned her when it was right for her which was at 16 months. I’ve since spoken to friends who had to stop a little too suddenly and they said how emotional it made them. Coupled with the emotions of leaving their baby for the day it was a tough time for them. Again I realised how fortunate I was.
In those early days I was doing a LOT of research for the business whilst Elsa breastfed and then fell asleep on me. I managed to keep her propped up on several cushions whilst I worked away at my laptop. If I moved her to her cot she’d just wake up. Try as I might I simply could not get her to sleep in her cot during the day. So I’d keep her nuzzled into me for as long as I could, not daring to move too much whilst I worked.
Elsa didn’t have a regular day time nap until she was 8 months old. A lot of my friends couldn’t believe this but she would often stay up all day. I wasn’t very happy about this as working from home still meant that I had to work! The only time that I could work was when she slept. The only way I could get her to sleep was to breastfeed her. And because she was so tired she’d need a lot of feeding. So some days I think I was feeding her every two hours. In hindsight it was a bit much but I was a slightly unsure new mum with lots of work to do and we just fell into this awkward routine.
Luckily my second, Oliver, didn’t feed quite so often and did nap in the day so during his first year I found it somewhat easier to work. My proudest example of working and breastfeeding with Oliver was when I took him along to my Paris trade fair last summer, when he was just 5 months old. In any other job I couldn’t have imagined taking a baby on a business trip, but for me it was the natural thing to do. Most of the other visitors there were mums like me and loved meeting Oliver. And travelling with a baby we certainly saw a softer side to Paris.
I have to say though that I did feel an immense amount of freedom and some relief when I stopped feeding my babies in the day. This came around the age they were one and it was a massive change for me. For one year, with each of them, I’d been working and running a business whilst they were entirely reliant on me. It was a liberating feeling to be able to leave them to go off for outings with their Aunty or Granny safe in the knowledge that I had a block of time to call my own and nobody could interrupt me. Because although it can work in the short term, snatching small batches of time for work here and there when you have a baby at home was, for me at least, never going to be viable in the long term. In fact I’m often surprised that I managed it for as long as I did.
For more working whilst feeding experiences please hop on over to Positive About Breastfeeding where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.